By Mackenzie N. Morgan
For On Common Ground News
STONECREST, GA—New Birth Missionary Baptist Church hosted 5,000 music fans on Monday, Oct. 9, for a free concert featuring best-selling gospel artist Kirk Franklin. It was not only the music that stirred the masses but a dark secret that has haunted Franklin for years—the genesis for his latest album, Father’s Day.
The 16-time Grammy winner sat down with New Birth’s pastor, Dr. Jamal Bryant, for a discussion about the project before the concert. Franklin, 53, shared his story about meeting his biological dad this past summer to a teary-eyed audience and encouraged others who didn’t know their fathers to forgive, let go and persevere anyway.
Recently, Franklin released a documentary that chronicles how he found his biological father while working on his new album. The behind-the-scenes footage captures Franklin’s emotional response when he gets back a positive paternity test identifying a man who lived just minutes away from where he grew up.
Erik Burton, a spokesman from New Birth, said 5,000 people turned out for the concert.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond attended the event and made a proclamation designating Oct. 9, 2023 as “Kirk Franklin Day” in the City of Stonecrest.
Pastor Bryant accepted the proclamation and announced New Birth’s plans to open the second-largest African American museum, after the Smithsonian, in just 45 days. Bryant said the Birthright Cultural Arts Center will feature the largest collection of black art. In the U.S. He said a partnership with The Nike Museum in Lagos, Nigeria, which houses the largest collection of original African artifacts, is providing the center’s first installation of art.
Texas-based artist, Cecil Bernard, is curating the project and will oversee the arrival and installation of more than 150 pieces of art from Nigeria.
Bryant said it is his hopes that the new cultural institution will offer young people the opportunity to be exposed to art, despite deep budget cuts for art in schools.
Bernard saluted Franklin’s contributions and achievements in music and presented him with an original art piece from his studio.
The New Birth concert was held one day ahead of the kickoff of Kirkland’s nationwide tour, The Reunion, featuring Tye Tribbett, the Clark Sisters, David and Tamela Mann and Israel Houghton. The tour kicked off today (Oct. 10), in Raleigh, NC.
The Reunion tour comes to Atlanta on Friday, Oct. 13, at State Farm Arena.
Photos by Mackenzie N. Morgan
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